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Children’s author S M MATTHEWS tells us why he decided to write about violence against women and the path to change in his first novel for adults, The Skinny Girl.
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Articles in this issue

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Archive Discoveries

  • Writer MIKE LUCAS and illustrator JENNIFER HARRISON tell gr about Olivia’s Voice, a new picture book about a deaf girl. Read on >
  • GEORGIA BLAIN is a novelist and journalist who lives in Sydney. Her first novel, Closed for Winter, was adapted into movie in 2009. LEONIE DYER asked Georgia about her latest novel, Between a Wolf and a Dog. Read on >
  • ANGUS DALTON meets British historian, journalist and author L S HILTON as she publicises the most hotly anticipated thriller of 2016, Maestra. Read on >
  • Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre has inspired all kinds of fan fiction and adaptations, such as the 1966 prequel Wide Sargasso Sea. But in this new novel by Sydney resident JENNIFER LIVETT, the lives of Jane Eyre characters become entwined with those of real 19th-century Tasmanians, including doomed Arctic explorer Sir John Franklin. Here Jennifer tells us how she came up with the idea for Wild Island. Read on >
  • The rugged beauty of England’s Lake District looms large in the latest psychological thriller by Perth-based author SARA FOSTER. She shares her passion for the natural world and her concerns about the potential impacts of electronic media with MAUREEN EPPEN. Read on >
  • 'Books, and lovers or friends, mark and change us. And we, in turn, mark and change them.' Melbourne novelist CATH CROWLEY writes about her longtime love of secondhand bookshops, and how the histories she found and imagined there led her to write Words in Deep Blue. Read on >
  • Australian historical novelist Pamela Hart tells us about her latest novel, A Letter From Italy, and Australia's first female war correspondent.  Read on >
  • Novelist and journalist MAGGIE ALDERSON spent her gap year as a ‘ferocious punk rocker’ working at an advertising agency and starting her own punk fanzine, for which she interviewed Bob Geldoff and Billy Idol. She went on to become the editor of Evening Standard and Elle in London. She also spent eight years in Australia as editor of Cleo and Mode, and covering fashion shows in Milan and Paris for The Sydney Morning Herald. Now back in the UK, Maggie has just released a new novel, The Scent of You. She tells us why reading fairy stories is good training for any writer, who her literary crush is, and why War and Peace is the most emotionally involving books she's ever read. Read on >
  • Born in London, retired doctor TONY ATKINSON spent the first years of his life in a cage dangling out of a window. But he went on to serve the Queen and Winston Churchill during his early career as a footman and waiter, which he recalls in hilarious stories in he memoir, A Prescribed Life. Read on >
  • I switched on to watch ABC TV’s The Drum one evening and discovered Jodi Picoult sitting on the panel discussion.What a great performer she is – not only an impressive writer but also an impressive speaker.The discussion at the table was raging around whether a white author has the right, or could even have the understanding, to write about black characters. As a white woman, how could she really know what’s it’s like to be a black woman, let alone a black man? How could she write black characters and make them authentic without knowing how they feel? Read on >
  • If you set out to write a thriller, you’re going to have to do some research. And while your story will be fiction, you’ll probably uncover more than a few fascinating real-world facts, as Australian thriller author L A LARKIN discovered while researching for her latest novel, Devour. Read on >

Book Reviews in this issue

  • Michael Quetting begins his memoir Papa Goose: One year, seven goslings, and the flight of my life by saying, ‘I’m heavily pregnant with nonuplets. At least that’s pretty much how I feel right now.’ Read a few chapters of this joyous book a night and you’ll go to sleep happy. Read on >

  • With an image on each page, this book has you smiling one minute and then suddenly tearing up. It’s the perfect gift for any dog lover, and you might find yourself to strive harder to live up to the brilliant person your dog sees you as. Read on >

  • Axel Linden’s On Sheep: Diary of a Swedish Shepherd ruminates on another domesticated mammal that even animal lovers don’t tend to look fondly upon. Indeed, calling someone a ‘sheep’ is an insult meant to insinuate stupidity. Read on >

  • The Eastern Curlew explores how Australia’s largest migratory shorebird – which sports an impressive curving bill five times longer than its head – flies 10 000 kilometres from Artic breeding grounds to feed on soldier crabs and molluscs populating mudflats on Australia’s east coast. Read on >

  • Alison Lester, who in 2012, became the Australia’s first Children’s Book Laureate, always writes and illustrates perfect little books for young children. Noni the Pony Rescues a Joey has such charming rhyming verse that it would be a pleasure to read aloud to the littlies. And the wonderfully expressive faces of the animals help to bring this happy little story to life. Read on >

  • Bronwyn Bancroft’s illustrations are, as always, distinctively big, bold and beautiful and the story is simply told by first-time children’s author, Nina Lawrence. But this is a story with a difference. It is a bilingual tale told in English and translated in Djambarrpuynu language from North East Arnhem Land. With many schools now promoting indigenous Australian languages this would be a wonderful introduction and inspiration for their students. Read on >

  • Once in a while, a book comes into your life that is so beautiful that you desperately want to give it to someone you love. This is that book for me. I Am the Seed that Grew the Tree is a collection of poems for children. There’s a poem for every day of the year. Read on >

  • Daykin has a quirky style that takes some getting used to. However, the story rollicks along with such enthusiasm that we soon adjust to the style and are abs orbed by the mystery. The characters are an interesting mix of eccentric, weird and relatively normal. Elvis, the youngest character, is often the most mature and sensible of the group. This is a fun exploration of issues that are important to all of us: who are we, where did we come from, and to whom do we belong? Read on >

  • This is a poignant, often thrilling story – beautifully illustrated by Emily Gravett – that gives permission to the reader to wonder about the greatest mystery of all: what happens afterwards. Read on >

  • For Peter, an unfathomable fear oppresses him. His calculating mind tallies, adds, subtracts and deciphers square roots – all to cloud the fear and allow him a somewhat normal existence. That is, until his mother becomes an unfortunate victim in an assassination attempt and his sister suspiciously disappears. Read on >

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